Voices of mask-wearers and opponents around the world

Vladimir Ignatyev, 73, speaks while at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. The only person who was wearing a mask while talking to the AP at Red Square was Vladimir Ingatyev. For him, it’s not just about his safety, but also about the safety of others. “You want to treat people like you’d want them to treat you – so you’ve got to wear one,” Ignatyev said. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko).

The wearing of face masks is causing a cacophony of human argument around the world. Here, a selection of voices from the global debate:


“To the best of my knowledge, the face mask has spread faster and wider than any other item in the history of dress.” — Valerie Steele, chief museum curator at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.


“My own grandmother died from the new coronavirus, and some members of my family also caught it but they survived. I try to wear a face mask so that at least I won’t catch it and also to avoid causing trouble for others.” — Reyhane Rajaei, a tattoo artist in Tehran.


“In the beginning, there was a fear of coronavirus and people were scared and they used to maintain a distance from others. Now people have started taking it easy. They don’t wear masks and they say death has to come one day, and when it comes, they will go to God, but they will not live any longer like this.” — Wasim Abbas, a Pakistan villager, explaining mask-fatigue.


“Young men and women might not be affected much by the virus. But they should think about their parents and older people, the people who are always part of their lives.” — Rawad Sarhan, a mask-wearer in Beirut, Lebanon.


“Basically, I don’t think you have to tell someone to wear a protective mask, with the pandemic and the whole thing going on right now … It is, you know, very important to wear a mask.” — Funmilayo Nwosu, a shopper in Lagos, Nigeria.


“You want to treat people like you’d want them to treat you. So you’ve got to wear one.” — Moscow resident Vladimir Ignatyev.


“I am not going to put it on since no one else is wearing it … There is no coronavirus, brother. They’re just deceiving people.” — Lebanese civil servant Mohammed al-Burji.


“For me to wear a mask is to deprive myself of oxygen. … Actually, you are just killing yourself.” — Kemokoenawamathole Mathole, a mask opponent in Johannesburg, South Africa.


“People often don’t wear their mask properly — it’s the wrong way round or they wear it like this (pulls mask under his chin). That’s great but the mask isn’t for your chin. People need to be more mindful but it’s coming progressively and it’s a positive thing.” — Eytan Azria, an engineer in Paris.


“It’s a sacrifice we have to make for the good of the community. Of course we have our personal freedom to do what we want, but we live within a society and, in this case, you have to think about society, not only yourself.” — Marcela De La Cerda, a Brazilian student.


“Is there no end to this virus hysteria?” — Australian mask opponent and commentator Andrew Bolt.


“If they want to die, so be it.” — Michelangelo Privitera, a pro-mask retiree from Italy who lives in Rio de Janeiro.


“The global tide has surely changed. Well over 95% of the population now lives in countries that require or recommend masks … There has, perhaps, never been such a rapid and dramatic change in global human behavior.” — Jeremy Howard, co-founder of #Masks4All, a pro-mask lobbying group.


AP journalists around the globe contributed to this report. Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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